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                             "WHY WE NEED"

                          Baptism Into Christ

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous study, I shared why we need the gospel of Jesus
   Christ...
   a. It contains good news that Jesus wanted everyone to hear - Mk
      16:15
   b. It is God's power to salvation for everyone who believes it - Ro
      1:16

2. I also pointed out that the gospel of Jesus Christ contains...
   a. Facts to believe - the message of God's love and grace
   b. Commands to obey - not difficult works done to earn salvation, but
      simple acts of faith whereby we receive God's grace and mercy
   c. Promises to receive - helping us deal with the problem of sin in
      our lives

3. Included in the commands of the gospel is the call for baptism into
   Christ...
   a. An immersion in water by a penitent believer of the gospel
   b. Which many people today say is not necessary

[Yet baptism into Christ is very much needed.  First of all, because...]

I. BAPTISM WAS COMMANDED BY JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES

   A. BY JESUS IN THE GREAT COMMISSION...
      1. As part of the process of producing disciples - Mt 28:19-20
         a. The apostles were commanded to "make disciples"
         b. Disciples were made by baptizing them and continuing to
            teach them
      2. As an integral part of responding to the gospel of Christ - Mk
         16:15-16
         a. Jesus wanted His gospel preached to every person in the
            world
         b. Those who believe and are baptized will be saved; those who
            do not believe in the gospel will be condemned
      -- Can we fulfill the Great Commission and not tell people the
         need to be baptized?

   B. BY THOSE SENT OUT BY JESUS IN THEIR PREACHING...
      1. Peter on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:36-38; cf. 2:41
         a. When his listeners asked "what shall we do?", Peter told
            them to be baptized
         b. 3000 people who gladly received his word were baptized
      2. Philip in preaching Jesus - Ac 8:5,12,35-38
         a. He preached Jesus in Samaria, and people responded in faith
            and baptism
         b. He preached Christ to the Ethiopian, who immediately
            requested baptism
      3. Peter to the household of Cornelius - Ac 10:47-48
         a. The outpouring of the Spirit made it clear that God was no
            respecter of persons
         b. Thus Peter commanded baptism for Cornelius and his household
      4. Ananias in his words to Saul of Tarsus (Paul) - Ac 22:16
         a. Saul had been praying and fasting for three days since the
            Lord appeared to him
         b. Yet despite faith and repentance, he was still in his sins
         c. Baptism was commanded, to wash away his sins!
      -- Can we preach like the apostles, without commanding people to
         be baptized?

[Baptism into Christ is clearly an integral part of preaching the gospel
of Christ and fulfilling the Great Commission.  To appreciate further
why we need baptism, consider that...]

II. BAPTISM IS THE AVENUE OF GREAT BLESSINGS

   A. FORGIVENESS OF SINS...
      1. Forgiveness of sins is made possible through the blood of Jesus
         - Ep 1:7
         a. Without the blood of Christ there is no forgiveness of sins
         b. We cannot earn or merit our salvation in any way
      2. Such forgiveness is promised to those who repent and are
         baptized - Ac 2:38; cf. 22:16
         a. Those who respond in baptism are assured their sins will be
            forgiven
         b. In some way, it is at baptism that we receive forgiveness
            through Jesus' blood
      -- Baptism is tightly connected with forgiveness of sins in the
         Scriptures

   B. THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT...
      1. There is the promise of the Spirit - Jn 7:37-39; Ac 2:38-39
         a. Promised by Jesus to those who believe
         b. Promised by Peter to those who repent and are baptized
      2. Baptism involves the working of the Holy Spirit - 1Co 12:13;
         Tit 3:5
         a. We are made to drink of the Spirit
         b. We experience a washing of regeneration and renewing of the
            Spirit
      -- Through baptism, we benefit from the Spirit's aid in
         regeneration and sanctification

   C. UNION WITH CHRIST...
      1. Union with Christ is necessary for spiritual life - Jn 15:4-5
         a. We cannot bear fruit unless we abide in Christ
         b. Without Christ we can do nothing
      2. In baptism we are united with Christ - Ro 6:3-4; Ga 3:27
         a. Buried with Him through baptism into His death
         b. We put on Christ in baptism
      -- Baptism is the means by which we receive Jesus through faith

   D. NEWNESS OF LIFE...
      1. Newness of life is the result of dying to sin and rising with
         Christ - Ro 6:3-7
         a. We die with Christ in baptism
         b. As we come forth from the watery grave, we rise to walk in
            newness of life
      2. In baptism we are buried with Christ, then made alive together
         with Christ - Col 2:12-13
         a. Buried and raised with Christ, through faith in the working
            of God
         b. It is God who makes us alive, having forgiven us all our
            trespasses
      -- Baptism is not a work of man, but a work of God to which we
         submit!

   E. SALVATION...
      1. Baptism saves us - 1Pe 3:21
         a. Many say baptism does not save us
         b. Peter says baptism does save us!
      2. How baptism saves us - 1Pe 3:21; cf. He 9:14
         a. Not through any cleansing of the flesh, as though the water
            itself has cleansing power
         b. But as an appeal for a clear conscience, made possible by
            the blood of Christ
      -- Baptism is the sinner's appeal for forgiveness, to which God
         graciously answers!

CONCLUSION

1. Why do we need baptism into Christ?  Because...
   a. It was commanded by Jesus and His apostles
   b. It is the avenue of wonderful blessings
   -- See Baptism - A Special Study for a more detailed study


2. If when baptized, we are...
   a. Buried with Christ into His death - Ro 6:3-4
   b. Raised with Him to newness of life - Ro 6:4-5
   c. Crucified with Him, thus made free from sin - Ro 6:6-7,17-18
   d. Clothed with Christ - Ga 3:27
   e. Washed from our sins - Ac 22:16
   f. Recipients of the remission of sins - Ac 2:38
   g. Baptized into the body (church) of Christ - 1Co 12:13
   -- Then what is our condition without baptism?

3. Indeed, baptism is integral to the preaching of the gospel...
   a. "In an apostolic sermon it comes as its logical conclusion."
      - George Beasley-Murray, Baptism In The New Testament
   b. "An effort ought to be made to restore this note in our
      preaching." - ibid.

So it was in the first gospel sermon preached after the resurrection of
Christ:

   "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God
   has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said
   to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what
   shall we do?" Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every
   one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
   remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy
   Spirit." - Ac 2:36-38

   Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that
   day about three thousand souls were added to them. - Ac 2:41

Have you been baptized (immersed) for the remission of your sins?  If
not, then you need baptism, and should heed the same words of Ananias
spoken to Saul of Tarsus:

   "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." - Ac 22:16
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